Apple's iPhone 4S "antennagate" checks begin landing

The $15 checks for iPhone 4 owners who took part in the "antennagate" class-action suit against Apple last year have begun to be distributed, with the first settlement payments showing up in mailboxes across the US. Issued from April 17, according to the accompanying letter 9 to 5 Mac reports, the payments came after Apple conceded it had a design issue with the iPhone 4's antenna, and was unable to placate all users with the offer of a free bumper.

Antennagate, as the furore quickly came to be known, was centered on Apple's decision to make the iPhone 4's antenna an external feature of the design of the smartphone, rather than enclose it in the chassis as on early models. Depending on how users held their iPhone, it could lose signal partially or entirely.

Apple offered a free "bumper" case – which covers the edges of the phone, and thus the antenna – to buyers, but not all of them wished to wrap up their iPhone. The class action suit, then, was only for those who had been unable or unwilling to return the handset, had been affected by the signal issue, and who had not accepted the free case.

In all, Apple coughed up $53m to settle antennagate, though around 30-percent of that was swallowed up by the legal teams involved. For those expecting a payment, "the enclosed check must be cashed by July 16, 2013" the letter warns, as "after that date, the check will be void and will not be reissued."